Substance abuse is a big issue. According to the Surgeon General, “In 2015, 66.7 million people in the United States reported binge drinking in the past month and 27.1 million people were current users of illicit drugs or misused prescription drugs.”1 Alcohol and other drugs affect impulse control, motor function, reflexes, judgment, and decision making.

But behind the issue are millions of real people like Teresa D., Mercedes and Frank A. Moms and dads and sons and daughters who, despite all the pain and suffering drug abuse causes, continue to use, abuse and spiral into addiction. It’s no surprise that there are many drug-related accidents, injuries, and deaths each year.

Drugs, Driving, and Accidents

illustration of two cars collidingDrugs alter brain chemistry. They impair cognitive and physical abilities. This makes combining drugs or alcohol and driving particularly dangerous.

The Governor’s Highway Safety Administration2 found, “Drugs were present in 43% of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result [and] in 22% of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekday days.”

Drugs and alcohol warn against driving on their labels. This doesn’t mean these warnings are followed. Drug-related accidents, injuries, and death happen often on the road.

 

Drug-Related Workplace Accidents

Drug and alcohol use are dangerous even if individuals never get on the road. Workplace accidents are often related to substance use.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence3 shares that alcohol has the following effects on workplace safety:

  • Workers with alcohol problems were 2.7 times more likely than workers without drinking problems to have injury-related absences
  • A hospital emergency department study showed that 35 percent of patients with an occupational injury were at-risk drinkers
  • Breathalyzer tests detected alcohol in 16% of emergency room patients injured at work
  • Analyses of workplace fatalities showed that at least 11% of the victims had been drinking

Drugs and alcohol cause workers to be less aware. They cause them to be less concerned for their and others’ safety. Drugs and alcohol slow reaction time. They put coworkers and careers at risk.

Drug Use and Violence

Man with fist threatening womanDrug use is related to intentional violence and crime. The World Health Organization explains, “Drug use may be linked to violence at the direct psychopharmacological level. Here, as a result of short- or long-term ingestion of specific substances, individuals may experience changes in physiological functioning that, in an unintoxicated state, restrain behaviour.”4

Drugs and alcohol reduce inhibitions. They also change how a person thinks and acts. Individuals may commit violent actions they never would while sober. “Drug-related violence can be economic compulsive, in that individuals addicted or dependent on illicit substances (e.g. cocaine and heroin) will commit crimes, including violent crimes, as a means to fund their drug use.”4 Drug and alcohol use is expensive. People may feel pressured to go to extreme measures to continue getting substances.

WHO offers a third reason for the link between violence and drug use: “Drug-related violence can be systemic, with violence being an inherent part of the illicit drug market. Violence is used to enforce the payment of debts, to resolve competition between dealers, and to punish informants.”4 Illicit drug trade involves violence. It’s structure and politics involve and invite violence, injury, and death.

Accidental Drug Overdose and Death

Drug overdose leads to injury and death. It leads to more of these every year. The New York Times explains, “Drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded…Deaths rose 19 percent over the 52,404 recorded in 2015.”5
Overdose occurs when there is too much of a drug or drugs in a person’s bloodstream. The body can no longer break these drugs down or safely process and eliminate them. Severe and serious physical reactions occur. Death can, and often does, result.

Don’t Be a Statistic

Black Bear Lodge at sunsetDon’t be a statistic. Break free from addiction. Ending drug use is the only way to prevent related accidents, injuries, and death. Learn how to heal your body, mind, and spirit. Call Black Bear Lodge at 706-914-2327 to learn more about substance abuse and your options for recovery.

We offer a safe, secluded location where you can pursue a healthy and brighter future. Regain balance through behavioral therapies, counseling sessions, life skills training, and peer support. Talk with us today about assessing your drug or alcohol use and creating a personalized treatment plan.


Sources

1 Surgeongeneral.gov. Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nov. 2016. Web. 28 Jun. 2017.

2 Governor’s Highway Safety Administration. “Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States.” Apr. 2017. Accessed 28 Jun. 2017.

3 National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. “Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace.” 26 Apr. 2015. Accessed 28 Jun. 2017.

4 World Health Organization. “Interpersonal Violence and Illicit Drugs.” Jun. 2009. Accessed 28 Jun. 2017.

5 Katz, Josh. “Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever.” New York Times. 5 Jun. 2017. Accessed 28 Jun. 2017.